Tuesday, June 21, 2011

finger in the dyke


Video - Especially those who work at the Cooper nuclear power plant in Browneville.

KCUR | The Missouri River approaching Kansas City is becoming more bloated than it's been in decades. Overflow, by millions-of-gallons a minute is being dumped from brimming reservoirs in the Dakotas. Interests along the river watch with a keen eye. They range from farmers to railroads to people who live behind levees. KCUR's Dan Verbeck has been attuned to the river for weeks and filed this account.

By time the river is past St. Joseph and Leavenworth, it's ready to push through curves and wriggles in its path toward the heart of the metro region.

We picked an arbitrary segment of flatland to watch. This extends from a few miles south of Weston down to the community of Waldron. Two levees guard it. The federal government paid for installation in the 1950's. Local taxes pay for upkeep.

Menno Attema farms 2500 acres of it and he's head of the levee board. The Army Corps of Engineers sets standards for how they're supposed to be built.. The Corps also is releasing the deluge upstream-- "there's no such thing as guarantees but I'm confident our system can withstand that. Its always to which degree because the Corps has indicated with their models, a low flow event. That means minimal rainfall for this area. We would be able to manage it relatively easy. During an extreme high rainfall situation, even our system would be challenged to withstand that." This is about protecting land from flooding. And people, ultimately.

Drivers passing on Missouri Highway 45, also known as Northwest 64th closer to Parkville, may not notice a lot of homes out in the flatland. The levee board president says--"There's 70 some homes still in the Farley-Beverly District. And then, in the Waldron area quite a bit less but still more than you would think." Attema and his family are among those 70 families and the levee holding is vitally important to them all.